President Presents Medal of Freedom to Gen. Jack Keane CSPAN March 10, 2020 7:14pm-7:29pm EDT
live wednesday morning look also online c-span.org or listen live at the free c-span radio app. acting deputy homeland heads to capitol hill wednesday to testify on the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak. watch that live at 2:00 p.m. eastern on c-span three. online at c-span.org, or listen live on the free c-span radio app. >> next president trump presents the medal of freedom to retired four-star army general jacket keane. he is a former army vice president chief of staff who retired in 2003 and is currently a fox news analyst. this is 15 minutes. ♪ ♪
[applause] [applause] ♪ ♪ >> thank you very much and good afternoon. the first lady and i are delighted to welcome you all to the lighthouse for this very special occasion that it is. today is is my great privilege to present our nation's highest civilian honor, the presidential medal of freeman to a courageous warrior and a fearless patriot. general jack keane. [applause] [applause] we are very excited to have jack's wife, angelo with us
today along with his brother ronald and his son danielle. thank you all very much. and thank you. [laughter] we are also joined by a very distinguished assembly of leaders including secretary mike pompeo, mike think of a much. secretary mike asper, attorney general william barr, secretary berlitz, senator lindsey graham, chairman of the joint chief of staff, general mark milley and general keith alexander. okay, thank you very much, thank you all. jack keane was born in 1943 into a family with a strong tradition of military service. his father served during world war ii as a marine in the pacific theater. jack grew up in a housing project on the lower east side of manhattan and became the first member of his family to attend college. at fordham university he joined the rotc distinguishing
himself as a cadet and member of the famed pershing rifles. upon graduating, jack was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the u.s. army, he volunteered to serve in vietnam and joined the legendary 101st airborne division as a platoon leader and later company commander he fought through fierce and bloodied combat. he demonstrated unflinching courage "under fire", and for his exceptional valor, jack was awarded the silver star. after vietnam, jack and his late wife terry adopted two wonderful sons. they raised danielle in their late son matthew with extraordinary love and care. in the army, jack designed new training methods to ensure military leaders would always be extremely well-prepared for the intensity of combat commands. his record discipline,
creativity, toughness, they all achieved tremendous results. general william depew, who helped rebuild the american military after vietnam, wrote that jack was the best brigade commander that he has ever had. he was very exceptional at all levels. in 1991, jack became a brigadier general, and commander of the joint readiness training center. he devised a state-of-the-art program that prepared our nation service members for combat against extended insurgencies in both urban environment and rugged terrain. jack prepared this nation for the wars to come and help to train soldiers that would later serve in bosnia, somalia, haiti and co- civil. jack was named a vice chief of staff of the army in 1999. was in his office on september 11, 2001, when terror struck the pentagon. he ran through smoke and
debris and evacuated the injured, saving lives. he visited the wounded in hospitals and attended scores of funerals for the fallen patriots, slain in the attack. jack soon helped oversee the additional military operations in iraq and afghanistan and was the first senior military official to visit troops in the field. in 2003, he was offered the position of army chief of staff. but in a profound act of devotion he turned down the position and left the army after nearly 38 years to care for his wife, terry, who had developed parkinson's disease. in 2006, jack helped engineer the surge that stabilize the deteriorating situation in iraq and allowed iraqis to finally finally take charge of their own future. in the year since, jack has continued to offer his sage counsel to military and policy leaders, and to visit our troops on the frontiers.
jack, i have to say has given me a lot of good advice two. he has been called a national treasure by henry kissinger, and is a recipient of the bradley prize and the ronald reagan peace through strength award. jack keane is a visionary, brilliant strategist, an american hero. general, you will be remembered as one of the finest and most dedicated soldiers in a long history of the united states military. no question about it. congratulations again, to you and your family. i would now like to ask the military aid to come forward and present general jack keane with the presidential medal of freedom. thank you. >> general jack keane is one
of the most a single military leaders. general keane served his country in vietnam as a paratrooper receiving a silver star for his courage and gallantry in action. his steadfast leadership as a four-star general and his vice cheese of staff or the army provided stability and direction for those under his command. since retiring from the military, general keane has remain engaged on matters of foreign policy devoting himself to developing policies that confront the dynamic threats facing our nation. the united states proudly honors general jack keane's tireless devotion to his country has defined him as a true patriot. [silence]:
[applause] [cheering] [applause] >> thank you very much. [applause] you know usually i'm not uncomfortable in front of cameras. even talking about foreign policy. but today, i have to talk about my own life. that adds a little bit of tension that i would not normally have. mr. president, i am deeply honored for this extraordinary award and to receive it here in the white house surrounded by family, my friends, and my senior government officials. it is really quite overwhelming and you can hear
it in my voice. thank you, mr. president, for your generous and kind words. and also for your very touching and personal phone call several months ago about this. i have always experienced the love of family and friends, some friends are here today we go back over 50 years. my parents raised my brother ron and me in a working class catholic environment. we were fortunate to attend classic schools in new york city. we were so strengthened, it so strengthened our values and our character. my brother ron, has always been there for me. and i am delighted he is here today. i thank god for guiding me in the journey of life. i have two great loves in my life. terry, doyle, who the resident
mention. my love since we were 18. we lost her too soon. and angela who i will love for the remainder of my life. with all honesty, i would not be standing here without their love and their devotion. my son danielle is here, i love you and them proud of you dan. my other son matthew, he was a special angel who was with the angels in heaven today. i have known for some time that there are two major events that changed my life. the first was the vietnam war. an infantry paratrooper in close combat with my soldiers, where death was always a silence companion. yet it was there i truly learned the value of life. the value of human life to treasure it. the experience crystallized to me the critical importance of
our soldiers to be properly prepared with necessary skill and the appropriate amount of will to succeed in combat. i lived the life, as the president mentioned, for 38 years. in the army, i lived that life among heroes who inspired me and i am still in all of them today. my sergeants, my fellow officers, and my mentors shaped me significantly and several times they saved me from myself. and that is the truth of it. the second event was 911, and the pentagon i lost 85 army teammates. i live the tragedy up close, attended scores of funerals with terry. a few days after i was a new yorker, i was dispatched to the world trade center horror, walking across those smoldering ruins and then making certain that mayer giuliani had all the military support that the pentagon could render.
it was personal, and i was angry. and despite having left the army, 17 years ago, i never left the 911 wars. and america's focus on islam and what they did to us. i could not have imagined i would stay so involved in national security and foreign policy. my motivation is pretty simple. do whatever i can, even in a small way, to keep america and the american people safe. mr. president, thank you for the build up. what you are doing to dig us out of the deep hole that you found the military in, is all about protecting america, not just for today, but for the generations to come. and thank you so much for everyone for sharing this day and thank you again